chapter  13
12 Pages

“State-persecution” in the works of Raffaele Pettazzoni

A religious history
WithValerio Severino

This paper studies the issue of state-persecution in the works of the Italian historian of religions, Raffaele Pettazzoni (1883–1959). At the eve of the rise of Fascism in Italy, and from the beginning of the Fifties, Pettazzoni was engaged in the question of “fundamental religious diversity.” In his answer, he addressed the clash between two types of religions, the “religion of the state” and of the “individual” with a comparative historical approach. He considered it the “conflict of yesterday and of today, one of all times,” and traced its origins back to one of the milestones in the history of persecutions, that is the repression of the Bacchanalia by the Roman state and that of Christianity. The paper recalls this theory in the debate on the religious persecutions and focuses on the tentative solutions of the conflict and their failures, among them the achievement of a religious unity in a Christian state.